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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 3, by Kevin M. Williams

From Pneuma Review Fall 2001Matthew

Journey through the Gospel to the Hebrews with Kevin Williams as he unveils rich Hebraisms and prophetic Messianic insights.

 

In the first two parts of our series on the gospel of Matthew, we have looked into the apostle’s claims that Jesus is the promised Messiah. We have examined some rather subtle ways Matthew managed to get his point across. We have examined Jesus’ lineage and how Matthew emphasized Jesus’ right to David’s eternal throne. We have looked into what many rabbis consider the four epochs of time, and how the season of Jesus’ birth may be another sign of his kingship. And, we considered the arrival of the magi, the prophet Daniel’s followers, setting out on their journey to confirm what one of Babylon’s most famous sages had predicted—the arrival of the Messiah.1

As we continue studying the words of Matthew, we will see that he continues to maintain his purpose—to show the Jewish world that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah of Israel, and all nations.

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Matthew 2:13-14

Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt.

Joseph, or as he was known by his countrymen, Yosef, was no stranger to prophetic dreams, nor to the appearance of God’s messenger. Joseph’s character is certainly one to admire. He did not wait until morning, he did not wait until he could discuss it with his other spiritual friends. He did not wait until it seemed convenient. He gathered his family and left Israel that very night!

Yet the question that seems unresolved, for me at least, is, “why Egypt?” After all, wasn’t Egypt the source of Israel’s oppression for so many centuries under the hands of Pharaoh? Yet, God decrees for Joseph to take his family to Egypt.

This is not without precedent. For all the evil Egypt represents, the land of pyramids and snakes was also the land of plenty and provision for families of the Bible. Abraham went to Egypt during a famine. Jacob and his 12 sons all lived in Egypt. Joseph brought the Israelites fame while they lived in the land of Goshen, before the great Exodus. After the destruction of Solomon’s temple by the Babylonians, Egypt became home for the prophet Jeremiah. For reasons we may not understand God has selected Egypt as a place of provision for His people on several occasions.

It is also worth noting that Jewish society flourished before the birth of Jesus in one of Egypt’s most celebrated cities, Alexandria. There were so many Egyptian Jews, that the scholars in Jerusalem took up the task of translating the Hebrew Bible into Greek, the language of Alexandria. Today we know that translation as the Septuagint and it is still used in comparative analysis of New Testament Greek. It would be unfair to think that Joseph fled to a forsaken, pagan, region. In Alexandria, Joseph would have found kin.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Fall 2001, Pneuma Review

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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